As we close the YJ doors on 2020 and prepare for a break from helping amazing organisations tell their stories and news, we thought we’d share a few of our own.
We’ve never felt prouder of being a part of the social enterprise sector as we have done this year. As the pandemic forced organisations to close their doors and work from home, our social enterprise colleagues switched to working from kitchen tables, juggling homeschooling, and taking part in far too many Zooms to make sure the people they support got the help they needed.
This grit shown by our sector kept us going and motivated us to use this time to do all we can for those we work with.
In July, we were lucky enough to work with Not Fur’ Long, who supported us to give our Media Cubs mini reporters a voice at a time when their pandemic questions were unanswered by the ‘grown-ups’ on TV. More than 200 questions were collected by the mini reporters as part of their Raise Your Hand campaign – and their efforts resulted in a response from 10 Downing St, their ITV debut and their first mini reporter press conferences with Mayor Andy Burnham and England’s Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield.
Throughout the year, we saw our Talking About My Generation online news platform for over 50s take on a life of its own. Our community reporters, all aged 50+, not only wanted to keep the newsroom going, but they wanted to do more to challenge the one-sided stories about their generation’s experiences of the pandemic. They have produced 200+ stories, 4 podcasts, made their acting debut and created a film to show the world that older people were volunteering, looking out for others and doing their bit during the pandemic – not just playing the vulnerable victims stereotype.
The growth in these two projects led to us to expand our YJ team to support both our project work and our PR and communications client work – which has grown with the likes of Oxfam, Unltd and Healthwatch Salford choosing to work with us. We’re so grateful for all the hard work from our extended team; Kathryn, Vicky, Jodie, Ted, and Tony, alongside our crew of interns, Andrea, Ruby, Lee, Jameala, Charlotte, and Andreja. We look forward to working with you next year and continuing to expand the team.
Being able to prove the need for both of these projects this year has resulted in us ending the year with some very exciting news: we are one of the 120 social enterprises to have been awarded funding from UnLtd’s Inclusive Recovery Fund, a £4.75 million fund to help social entrepreneurs unleash their potential at a pivotal moment the UK’s economic and social recovery.
Combined with Grace’s place on the School of Social Entrepreneur’s Scale UP Programme, and Kirsty’s place on the Unltd Grow It programme, we will be spending 2021 using our time and grant funding to develop both Media Cubs and Talking About My Generation. We can’t wait!
A big thank you in particular to the following organisations this year:
- Our amazing team of community reporters for Talking About My Generation whose skills and knowledge have made the news platform such a success!
- Flourish CIC for flying the ‘women in social enterprise’ flag and inviting us to provide PR support on their Resilient Leaders programme
- Not Fur’ Long Creative, in particularly Vinnie (team elite), for his amazing enthusiasm that motivated us at a time when we really needed it
- Unlimited Potential for nominating us for the Social Enterprise UK Roll of Honour
- Annabell Gast and the NatWest Accelerator Programme for your incredible coaching
- The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub team for believing in the value of the Talking About My Generation news team
- All those who supported the Taking About My Generation news team’s first-ever successful Crowdfund – which will fund an update to their online news channels including good friends and colleagues at Empowered Conversations and Age UK Salford
- Launch Events and ATTAIN (team Expo!) for their web support and listening ear
- Vic from MicMedia for her continued support of the TAMG podcasters
- Jon and all at Salford Social Enterprise City for championing us from day one
- Comic Relief and the National Lottery Community Fund Big Lottery Fund for supporting our Talking About My Generation news team
- Unltd and SSE for seeing our potential to grow, and providing us with the funding and coaching to make it happen
- Our incredible team: thank you for sharing our vision and ‘getting’ why we do what we do!
- Melanie Bryan from Why Not Change for her support in making our funding applications successful
- Pam Babla-Bainbridge for inviting us on to her “A Cuppa With…” podcast to chat about Media Cubs
- Gemma Stevenson for inviting us on to her “Constant Cheerleader” podcast to chat about Media Cubs- and share a love for peppermint tea!
- The many, many journalists including Elle editor Farrah Storr, PA’s Stephen Jones, The Bureau Local’s Shirish Kulkarni, The Times Hannah Lucinda Smith, BBC (and TikTok queen) Emma Bentley, professor in Broadcast Journalism Diane Kemp, Director of Bureau Local, Megan Lucero, and Journalism.co.uk’s Marcela Kunova for being role models to our Media Cubs reporters and for showcasing their work
- Woodheys Primary School for letting us take over for our #RaiseYouHand campaign and the fantastic questions for the Prime Minister
- Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, for both sitting in the hot seat for our campaign and taking part in a Q&A
- Emma from Calm Connections for collaborating with us on our first virtual Media Cubs club and providing much needed mental wellbeing support to young people.
- And last but not least Zabby Allen and the Procrastination Paper, The Happy News and Emily Coxhead for giving our Media Cubs a regular column in the paper and seeing the value in them sharing the views on the news.